Ford cautiously reopens plants, but Bronco launch is still delayed

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On May 18, more than 70,000 Ford employees went back to work in factories across North America, as did workers at GM and FCA. Ford had to restructure some of its manufacturing with new health safety guidelines in place, including social distancing, hand washing, and protective masks for workers.

Previously, some interior assembly procedures were done simultaneously with two workers inside the vehicle at once. Now, Ford is using its massive assembly lines to its advantage by spreading workers out a bit.

Ford Dearborn Plant Reopens

The weeks of downtime, however, have pushed back the launches of three of Ford’s most important 2021 vehicles: the next-gen F-150, the all-electric Mustang Mach E, and the highly anticipated Bronco. Ford had initially planned for the Bronco to be unveiled in March and to be in dealerships in early 2021. That original reveal date came and went, and although there have been some significant leaks, we still haven’t seen the Bronco in its entirety.

As reported by the Detroit News, Ford doesn’t foresee any additional delays beyond those created by the initial shelter-in-place order that closed plants for about eight weeks. Hua Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product development and purchasing officer, told the News, “We expect the launch delays to be commensurate with the duration of the shutdown period.” We take that to mean that critical suppliers are also ready to get rolling and haven’t been too badly disrupted by the shutdown.

This may mean that there’s less time between the cover being pulled off the first official reveal of the Bronco and its on-sale date, but that shouldn’t matter. The pent-up demand from Ford fans to get a legitimate Wrangler competitor won’t be dampened by a minor delay.

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